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Researchers developing danger-sensing BioPen


Scientists at Ben Gurion University in Israel are out to make detecting dangerous biological agents as simple as a pregnancy test with their yet-to-be-completed BioPen, which they say could eventually be in use everywhere from the battlefield to the veterinary lab. The pen uses a modified form of Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (or ELISA) antigen detection to detect potentially harmful compounds, and can apparently also be used to determine if water is drinkable, along with ratting out environmental toxins, Ebola, Hepatitis B and C, Dengue, West Nile virus, and bird flu, among other nasty things. It works by taking a blood sample with a disposable tip, which is then automatically processed in the non-disposable cap, delivering the verdict in twenty minutes or less. Of course, they haven't actually gotten it into pen size yet -- for that, they're looking for one or two million dollars of funding -- but when/if it gets fully developed, they foresee the BioPen being a fairly affordable option, costing about $15 per test.

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